READING, Pa. - Wednesday was the start of Black History Month.
Many organizations and colleges across Berks County are looking back, while also focusing on the future.
For Frank Gilyard, president of the Central Pennsylvania African American Museum in Reading, Black History Month holds special meaning.
"We need to realize that it's American history," said Gilyard, who noted that Berks County has made a mark in history books. "The movement of the underground railroad in Berks County. There are 10 documented stops that are here in Berks County."
Across Berks County, many events are planned for Black History Month.
At Alvernia University in Reading, students and faculty gathered Wednesday to look at artwork created by a local African American artist.
"Through art, our literature, our music and dance, we kind of highlight that during Black History Month," said Ed Terrell, the art director of the African American Coalition, who added that Black History Month is about educating the masses. "We try to focus on the concepts of who you are, where you come from, and where you are going."
"It's very inspirational, and it's a great thing," said Jennifer Toledo, a student at Alvernia University.
"Coming from Haiti, one of the things I know about Haiti is that we all come from Africa as slaves and coming to America it means a lot to me to see all the access that we have," said Junior Bernard, another Alvernia student.
Whether it's showcasing artwork or learning more information about the underground railroad, historians claim the influence of black history in America will continue to impact our country.
"It's a great opportunity for us to get together and remember our past and how far we want to go in life," said Bernard.
"If it takes the entire month or a week, we're just so thrilled that you can celebrate," said Terrell.
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